Remember when I promised that I’d be back with wedding flower week round two!? Well, it is here all this week! I hope that you have already learned a lot about flowers and weddings here in the Washington DC area. (If you missed anything or want to catch up, check all of the posts out right here.) There is so much great info, so I planned a whole second round of wedding floral amazingness and education! To kick things off this week, we are getting down to dollars and talking wedding floral budgets. Specifically, why do wedding flowers cost what they cost? Why are they so expensive? Yes, there is the cost of the flowers themselves, but then you have to factor in travel and shipping and the floral designer’s time and the list goes on and on. Maybe if we understand all that goes into producing a truly spectacular wedding bouquet or centerpiece, then we can understand and appreciate the cost a little bit more. I went to the best wedding floral designers in the Washington DC area for their perspective. Here is what they had to say about wedding flowers and cost…
“Wedding flowers are very costly, imagine a precious bloom being planted in the ground months and months before your wedding. Someone is tending to that bloom for months nurturing its growth and development. It takes many hands in the field to care for these flowers. The cutting of the flowers and the shipping of the flowers is also another costly process. In actuality, each stem is being sold for considerably less than the time that went into growing them. The increase in demand due to the Internet/social media has also caused many issues. Engaged couples are now aware of very specific types and or shades of flowers and this has caused an incredible demand on unique blooms that are typically not mass produced. For instance garden roses vs. carnations. In addition to flowers, it takes countless hours to write contracts, write floral ‘recipes,’ source flowers, and then ultimately design the flowers. A good wedding and event designer will have to search for hours to fulfill a flower buy. There will be several days of designing associated with a wedding and many pairs of hands. The delivery of the flowers and the many hands it will take to get the wedding set up in a timely fashion is also another cost. The clean up the event also takes an incredible amount of work. We also must not forget the administrative work that goes into the many contract changes that some couples require due to design changes or guest count changes.” – Holly, owner of Holly Chapple Flowers
“At our studio each item on a wedding proposal is priced to include flowers, materials and labor for that item. Day-of services like delivery, set-up and break down are listed separately. There is so much that goes into wedding floral design, including time for consultations, proposal revision, ordering flowers, ‘recipe’ creation for each custom design, flower processing, packaging, and clean-up.” – Jennifer, owner of J. Morris Flowers
“The cost of your flowers includes a great deal more than simply the cost of the flowers. Included in the fancy price tag at the bottom of your floral contract are the following: Design time, coming up with the types of flowers and how many for each arrangement, bouquet, aisle marker, and so on. It includes procurement of all items including flowers, containers, ribbons, etc. It also includes transportation, because it takes a great deal of effort to get all of the materials in excellent condition to our studio and then to the final venue. Lastly, it includes the labor that goes into designing the arrangements and the labor it takes to get the designs from point A to point B and sometimes point C and D.” – Shelly, owner of B Floral and Event Design
“Our costs included in a proposal are determined by containers, flower selections, quantity of flowers used, time involved in producing the product, supplies required, delivery and pickup and can include special details that make each design unique.” – Janice, owner of Serendipity Bridal & Events
“It’s not just the flower itself that you are purchasing. You are paying for our creativity, time and labor. From the moment you walk into our studio, we customize each part of your special day. The process starts with our estimation of each itemized piece; bouquet, boutonniere, etc. They each get their own ‘recipe.’ Once the wedding is upon us, we are procuring each item of the recipe from our purveyors. On any given wedding, we are ordering from over 5-10 different purveyors to acquire the best for you. This takes generally about three days as we go back and forth finding out which purveyors have the availability to supply the product we need. I personally love this process and enjoy when we can go direct to farms and suppliers all over the world as well as locally to get the blooms and hard-goods needed to create a wedding. The week of the wedding, when all the items start to arrive, they are labeled and processed; glassware cleaned, candles unwrapped, accoutrements added. Structures designed and created are put into action as we prepare for the special day. Normally, the last couple of days before the wedding, all hands are ‘on-deck’ to get the freshest designs created. Our event coordinator is reaching out the week before to solidify the timelines needed for each venue and staff is assigned their respective duties for the day. Then, the magic happens – the day of the wedding is filled with packaging each design for delivery and loading the vehicle(s) for safe transport. Once on-site, making sure the details are taken care of is the most important task. It’s filled with excitement mixed with adrenalin. I love it!” – Christi, president of Bergerons Flowers
“There are so many elements that go into the cost of flowers. One that people don’t think of is gas prices, as flowers are often flown and driven from many different places before they even get to the florist. Flowers are also perishable, but unlike food, you can’t simply freeze them to increase ‘shelf life,’ so there is a simple life span element to their cost. Some flowers bloom infrequently, adding a simply supply/demand aspect to their cost. And of course, there is the florist’s time to receive and process the flowers, care for them, build your arrangements (whether ahead of time or on-site on the day of the event), and overhead covering the cost of the work space, vehicles, gas, and staff.” – Gerry and Rebecca, owners of Petal’s Edge Floral Design
“Just like other consumer staples you purchase, there is a cost of goods and labor involved in wedding flowers. Some cost of goods related to wedding flowers include: cut flowers, materials such as tape, pins, wire, flower food, water, buckets, foam, and vases. Overhead is also factored in to the cost, such as rent on the studio space, utilities to include the power to run the cooler and insurance. Then we have the labor factor because labor is involved in processing all the flowers once they arrive at your studio – everything must be unwrapped and processed before going into the cooler. There is the labor involved in making the arrangements and then the labor involved in delivering, setting up and breaking down at the wedding.”– Alicia, owner of Alicia Jayne Florals
“First off, flowers are expensive period. I think clients see low flower prices at grocery stories and think that florists get the same prices. This is false. These stores are able to guarantee high volume purchases, allowing for significant price reductions. Secondly, most people don’t understand what goes into floral design and how long the actual execution takes, not to mention, perishable products require extra maintenance/care. Without even including the time it takes to send out a detailed proposal – from placing the correct flower orders, to receiving and conditioning the flowers, to dealing with whole sellers sending you bad product needing replacement, to arranging, staffing, transport, and overhead (flower food, floral foam, various tapes, glues, etc), you’re looking at a week’s worth of work! This doesn’t happen overnight! We’ve had all sorts of vendors either assist us with events or come shadow us – every single one has left saying ‘Wow – I had no idea this much prep went into flowers!’ Not only is the price driven by the high product cost, but also by the time it takes to produce one wedding.” – Liza, owner of Studio DBI
“The cost of providing wedding flowers in the DC area is pretty high. Flowers have to be shipped in from all over the world. Then they have to be processed to make sure the right quantities have arrived, the right colors and that none of them are dying or dead or missing quantities in the bunches ordered. Then the flowers have to be conditioned. Most need floral food and then many flowers have to be stripped of their leaves or thorns. Then there is the design element of making the arrangement. Then they are housed in refrigeration. The day of the wedding, an appropriate vehicle needs to be used to transport them. Delicate blooms require extra care. Many tall arrangements have to be arranged onsite and then the unloading, onsite design and sometimes multiple delivery locations make for a very extensive logistical process that does not end there. After all is delivered and installed, florists have to come back at the end of the wedding to break down any rentals. This is only the weekend of the wedding! You also have to keep in mind the time of the designer and their creativity for coming up with designs that will work within your price range, venue, style and color scheme for your particular time of year. An experienced designer is going to know all of these things off the top of their head. You pay for more experience and expertise to make sure everything is done right. If not – you will be upset the day of the wedding for mediocrity and lack of experience.” – Katie, owner of Elegance & Simplicity
I’m tired just reading all that goes into produce floral design pieces for a wedding! Thank you so much for such great advice! I hope you’ll stick with us again for wedding floral week part two here on United With Love. Please check out each of these talented DC area wedding florists on their websites. And, remember to come back all week long because we have so much more coming at you; I can’t wait!
In the meantime, be sure to look through our DC area wedding idea galleries and find wedding advice from local DC, MD and VA wedding pros. If that isn’t enough, check out our collection of local DMV weddings from the real world and the best DC area wedding vendors who make it all happen.